The 2017 Grand Slam season officially gets under way as the Philadelphia Freedoms and the rest of the pro tennis world turn their attention down under for the Australian Open. The draws for the Australian Open have been released and Freedoms fans will have plenty of Philly favorites to watch as EVERY member of the 2016 Freedoms will be playing in Melbourne!
2016 Freedoms marquee Caroline Wozniacki begins the tournament against Arina Rodionova. Wozniacki will be looking to carry her success that she had at the end of last season, when she returned to the semifinals of the US Open. Already in 2017, the no. 17 seed reached quarterfinals at both Sydney and Aukland, which both serve as Australian Open tune-ups. In Sydney, Wozniacki defeated 2016 Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig in a tight three set battle.
Popular American star CoCo Vandeweghe, who rejoined the Freedoms late last season after playing for the US Olympic team, faces a rather tough first round opponent: 2015 US Open runner-up Roberta Vinci. Vandeweghe has found success against the no. 15 seeded Italian, winning their last two meetings including just last year at Wimbledon.
CoCo will also once again partner with Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Hingis (Washington Kastles) in women’s doubles after the pair reached the US Open semifinals together last summer. In an intriguing first round match, two former world no. 1 singles players will be on opposite sides of the net; CoCo and Martina, the no. 5 seeds, will take on Jelena Jankovic and Yanina Wickmayer.
Also in women’s singles, 2016 Freedoms rookie Samantha Crawford will play fellow American Lauren Davis for a spot in the second round in an all-American battle.
Hard-serving Brit Naomi Broady will have to overcome a boisterous hometown crowd when she plays no. 22 seed, Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in the first round. Broady beat Gavriliova back in 2012. Broady will also team with countrywoman Heather Watson in women’s doubles, taking on Karin Knapp and Mandy Minella in the opening round.
On the men’s side, fan favorite Donald Young faces off against 143rd ranked Thomas Fabbiano in singles. This will be the pair’s first ever meeting after Fabbiano fought through qualifying to get into the main draw. In another first round doubles match to watch, Young and fellow American Sam Querry will team up to challenge no. 2 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
Fresh off winning the ATP Qatar doubles title two weeks ago, 2016 Mylan WTT Male Rookie of the Year Fabrice Martin teams with Jonathan Eysseric at this year’s Australian Open. The French duo faces Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in first roiund play.
Finally, Lukas Lacko, who won three qualifying matches in four days to get into the main draw, will play no. 22 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The two last played in 2012, with Lacko winning handily in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.
The mixed doubles draw will be announced soon and is expected to feature Vandeweghe, Martin, Broady and Young. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@phillyfreedoms) and “like” us on Facebook for updates throughout the tournament.
We wish our Freedoms the best of luck #ServingFreedom in Melbourne at the Australian Open!